Last night I went to dinner with a childhood friend I met ten years ago this month. She was one of the girls I met through the Children’s Advocacy Center in a group I was in. The greatest thing that came out of that group was the friendships I developed many of which I still have close contact with today. Kim was on of those friends who went on to the same University with me and have shared so many memories together of our college years. Last night we got talking about looking back to how our lives changed in the past ten years from our experience in being in the group and how each of us has gone down a different path to where we are today.
We talked for three hours and one of the conversations we had was about a word I just cannot stand to be identified with. That word is Victim. I associate that word with two things someone that has been killed or someone that is weak. I am neither of those. The word victim to me just sounds like someone that does not get to live on to be heard. It is perfectly used when someone is murdered but not when someone has been sexually abused. I feel the word is degrading to someone who has been sexually abused and they are called a victim. I used to call myself a victim of sexual abuse when I was weak and did not have the strength I have now. Someone that has been sexually abused and is still around to break their silence is a survivor of sexual abuse. Survivor sounds so much better then being labeled a victim. Victim to me means someones life has been taken, survivor to me means someone that has lived through it.
I have at different points in my life identified myself with both those words. I no longer identify myself with either. I once was weak and did take the victim role, I eventually found the strength to reach the role of being a survivor, I now see myself beyond both of those as someone that is thriving. Thriving in the dictionary is defined as: to prosper, be fortunate, successful, and growing. I feel I am all of those and that is where I plan to stay. I just hope others out there that have been abused in their life do not identify themselves as a victim. When you see yourself as a victim in a sense you have abandoned yourself and let the perpetrator win. When we all know the perpetrators are the losers. So my advice to anyone who has been abused don’t play the victim if anything play the survivor and hopefully one day thriver.